|Xi’s visit to enhance Sino-U.S. cooperation on energy utilization, climate change
|China and the United States will enhance the cooperation on energy utilization and climate change with each other, as a series of important agreements will be reached during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit, said experts.
China has pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 60 percent and to generate one-fifth of its electricity from clean sources by 2030, which is an ambitious goal that may also provide some big business opportunities for U.S. companies.
China and the United States are by far and away the largest emitters of greenhouse gas on the planet, together accounting for more than 35 percent of the world's energy consumption.
"Transforming the whole energy economy, it takes a sustained broad effort all around. China and the U.S. can play a leading role in the solution just as presently they have the dominant role in the emission of greenhouse gas. We can do this together,” said Terry Fry, board member of China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance.
The China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance was formed ten years ago to pool together financial and technical resources to help China implement large-scale efficiency programs.
Fry's company, Nexant, has already brought software to China that helps buildings and homes run more efficiently.
"Because they are consuming less electricity in the industry. because they are consuming less coal, then less needs to be generated, otherwise the utility companies in China would be producing that much more electricity burning that much more coal that would go directly into the environment," Fry said.
Another alliance member aiming to translate its success to China is Opower, a company already halfway toward its goal of reducing one percent of the USA’s total energy consumption.
Ben Ratcliff, solutions consultant of the company, said China’s development will bring opportunities to U.S. companies.
"The U.S. China-Climate relations is a ripe partnership for our two countries. We've seen a significant impact in the U.S., countries throughout the world. China is a huge opportunity for us," said Ratcliff.
Opower works with utilities to provide algorithms that let customers know, for example, how they compare in consumption to their neighbors, or whether they're taking advantage of the most popular energy-saving tips used by their peers.
"It's marrying the analytics with the usage, the behavioral science to make that truly personalized communication to you so that you believe that the utility really understands you. And then, you will then take action because you trust the information they are giving to you," said Ratcliff.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said in the next 15 years, China will install as much clean energy capacity as the entire U.S. electricity system.
Efficiency strategies will be key, said Fry. The Alliance points to California as a favorable example. While overall in the U.S., per capita energy consumption has grown by 50 percent, through efficiency plans California's consumption has remained flat since 1975.